Friday, March 14, 2014

A Goodbye: But Not For Good!

Hello all after a long absence! I cannot believe I find myself in the middle of March 2014. I have been working on another blog, plus life, as you know, interferes along the way. Before typing this, I went back over some old posts here because I wanted to take stock of my weight loss/weight gain history since I reached my 160 lb. goal in January 2013. It's interesting to see how I was thinking/feeling throughout the course of my first year of maintenance. My, what a journey I've had!

I am currently weighing in at 185 lbs. -- a 25 lb. gain -- and according to my blog history, I started to creep up in weight towards the end of July 2013. I held at goal for six months, but the weight ascent started slowly during my Wild West Trip to California, and never really let up. Things began to rapidly escalate throughout the winter, which was brutally cold here in Ohio. By my estimation, I put on 10 lbs. alone during January/February 2014.

What caused the gain, you probably want to know. It can really be broken out into some simple things. Cold weather = more eating and drinking. No exercise. No calorie counting. Soon, I no longer watched portion sizes with my dinners. I kept right on track with my breakfast, lunch and snacks all the way through. The problem is dinner, and occasional "sweet treats" at night.

Now, I am a strong woman. I am also a frugal woman. And I am not going to undo the "investment" I made in myself by losing 80 lbs. So this of course means the 25 lbs. must come off. The brakes need to be hit now before things get worse. The feeding frenzy is over. Not controlling my portion sizes of high calorie dinners must come to an end. The time to act is now.

And act now I am.

I have decided to use the Optifast products to shed this 25 lb. gain. I have removed the food again to get back to the routine I know so well, and along the way seriously outline the steps I am going to take to protect my weight loss. One thing is crystal clear: Exercise must be a part of this second time around with Optifast. And it's also clear that's a major hurdle for me, for as you know I just don't like to exercise and I just don't want to exercise.

Because different issues and challenges arise when you decide to Optifast again, I have started a new blog: 'Round and Unround: Optifasting the Second Time Around. There is a link to my new blog under the "About Me" on the right side of this page. I did hesitate breaking out my overall weight loss journey into two separate places, but I'm finding there's a big difference between Optifasting the first time and Optifasting the second time. I needed to start fresh.

I have also noticed there are many folks walking this same path as I am. I'm definitely not alone. Regardless of how we got in this same boat, we're working to get the weight back off by following a regime that works for us. I've got friends and family cheering me on and that's wonderful.

I'm expecting a slow loss rate -- 2 lbs. a week -- but I'm comfortable with that. Carving off 25 lbs. is a little more palatable than needing to lose 80 lbs., as I did before. Frankly, I'm quite proud of myself for nipping this gain now before things got worse! I'm getting lots of support on the "Optifast Support" Facebook page. Great people there.

So this will be my last Optifast Gourmet post for awhile. But rest assured, I'm moving forward. This cookie don't crumble! Come follow me on my new blog and join us on Facebook. We'd love to have you! Always remember: One day at a time. Stay in the "Precious Present." And in my case, yes, the turtle can win the race.

Happy Optifasting!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Biggest Loser Controversy: What Does Rachel's Story Teach Us?

Rachel Frederickson
As you know, I go to the grocery store every day because I like my ingredients fresh, I decide what I'm going to cook depending on how I feel that day, and basically I just like to see my "friends" who work there. Grocery shopping is just part of my daily routine. And I like it.

So there I am two days ago, in line to check out, and my eyes are drawn to the display of magazines and tabloid newspapers we all look at as we wait. And there on the cover of People magazine, with blazing words, "Biggest Loser Scandal: Too Thin Too Fast?" beside her, is a woman standing wearing a green "Biggest Loser" tank top and tight black biker's shorts. She is smiling widely.

This is Rachel Frederickson. She dropped 155 lbs. in seven months as a contestant on the wildly popular "The Biggest Loser" television show.

Given that I have close friends who struggle with anorexia nervosa, I looked at her face, arms, wrists, hips and legs closely. Looking for telltale signs like hollow cheeks, bony arms, hip bones jutting out. I closed my eyes and shook my head. Dear, dear Rachel...and there she is heart just ached for her.

I debated with myself a little bit -- should I buy this rag or not? How much does it cost? Then I just threw it on the conveyor belt. I was bringing Rachel home with me. I needed to know more -- I had to know more -- about her, what happened, could I relate having lost a significant amount of weight myself, and most importantly: was anybody affiliated with the Biggest Loser show helping her?!

I got home and before unpacking the groceries, I had that magazine out and read the article standing up at the kitchen counter. Here's what I highlight from the article:

"Rachel passed all the required medical tests, ensuring she was healthy," says the show's executive producer Dave Broome. "The health and well-being of our contestants is our No. 1 priority." 

Hmm. How does Mr. Broome define "well-being"?

"Frederickson's lined face and visibly bony arms alarmed many viewers, experts and even some at the show--among them host Alison Sweeney, who tells People, "I understand and shared in the concern for Rachel at the finale. My hope is that she and all show contestants achieve life-long health."

Hope? All we can offer Rachel is "hope"?

"The show's producers honestly thought maybe she'd look okay (on television at the Finale) and no one would notice--but people gasped."

This statement upset me so much I cannot comment on it.

And here's what saddened me the most, what makes me want to cry.

"Asked point blank whether she has an eating disorder, she replies, 'I am very, very healthy.' "

Now, writing as someone who lost a significant amount of weight in a "shortish" amount of time, I am never, ever going to criticize someone who wants to find a weight loss program that delivers results sooner rather than later. Do not judge, lest ye be judged. But -- I think I've been upfront all along that when you lose a large amount of weight, it changes you. Physically and emotionally.

I thank God that I have been very cognizant of the potential eating disorders that might have overtaken me when I lost my 80 lbs. and reached goal. I had that brief bingeing period and got it under control. I also identified my obsession with the scale and finally, finally got to the place where I now weigh once a week. Emotions drive disordered eating. Often fear, coupled with the need to "control." I broke free of this. And I'm so much happier.

I so hope my fellow Optifasters don't lose sight of the possibility that you may reach goal, but then start wanting to push the envelope and go down further. Things can snowball either way. You start gaining or you keep losing. Both can be very unhealthy. You know I see a psychologist and that keeps me centered. I guess it's my hope that this stupid The Biggest Loser television show gets Rachel some counseling ASAP.

Importantly, I don't look at Rachel as a "freak." Not at all. I want to give her a big, long hug and say, "Yes, you've changed. And now the real work towards a healthy life begins." I don't watch The Biggest Loser and have no intention of changing that practice. As far as I'm concerned, they have no clue how much damage to women they do.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Still Alive And Kicking!

Hello dear readers and a short post to let you know I am indeed alive and well! Still working to shed about 10 lbs., and struggling with that...but I'm sure I'm not alone! It's been a rough winter, weather-wise, and I have had family obligations. But things are settling down and I'll be back to my posts soon. Miss you all and hope you are progressing on your own journeys. Remember: We're all in this together. And nothing can stop us!

Much love,


Friday, January 24, 2014

Back To The Basics

Greetings from Ohio!
Good morning dear readers! It's terribly cold, but the sun is out, which makes things a little more bearable. I didn't go to work today so husband took the car -- thus leaving me car-less and I don't like that at all! I will have to bundle up and walk to the grocery store to procure the ingredients for tonight's dinner. It's only three blocks away, but what a chilly walk it will be.

Talked with him last night about going back to the soups and some vegetarian meals and he was okay with that. So tonight I am going to make a kale soup with carrots, onions, celery, navy beans and a small amount of turkey sausage. I'm going to use the crock pot over the weekend to make some sort of veggie/bean stew. I'd love to throw a ham hock in there, but I'm holding off.

I have been thinking this morning about this idea of constant "re-commitment" to a healthy diet. And by this I mean eating well for a stretch; straying off course; feeling guilty; and then shaking myself and getting back on the horse and eating properly again. It's not that I'm not proud of myself for getting the brakes on when it's needed, rather I feel like a scratched CD -- plays well for a stretch then skips. And it's really annoying.

I can't tell you how hard it is fighting off the desire to cook up a storm of hearty dishes right now. Who of us doesn't love the wonderful aroma filling the kitchen, from a fabulous winter dish slowly roasting in the oven? But if I keep preparing and gobbling those up, I'm undoing all my hard work to get my weight off and keep it off. So I must be strong, re-commit, and remember how unhappy, uncomfortable and embarrassed I was when I was obese.

It's very, very important to me to relay a positive message to everyone about staying the course, through good times and bad, always keeping your eyes on the "prize" of being at a healthy weight. But darn it, this is hard for me. And I'm guessing most are struggling right along with me. I remember "chirping" way back in this blog about how Optifasting is the easy part -- it's maintenance where the true trials and tribulations are. And it's so, so true.

I also just bristle when I think about those "statistics" purportedly showing that the vast majority of people who have lost weight through a liquid diet gain all the weight back -- and more. Frankly folks, that scares and upsets me. Who needs to hear such a negative message when you are trying your best to maintain your loss? I sure don't. Grrrr.

Well, off I go to bundle up and face the elements. I know I'll have a hot cup of tea waiting for me when I get home. And hey -- I'm getting some exercise, right? That's not a bad thing. Stay warm everyone!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's Freezing...And I'm Frustrated!

Mr. Cold Miser Is Here!
Well, I'm a little frustrated today. Maybe more than a little. First, my husband's car died weeks ago and this has caused quite a disruption to my daily routine. It's absolutely freezing (literally) in Ohio right now, and I have to drop him off and pick him up after work. It's not that I mind it, but I haven't been able to get to the clinic; my cooking is slipping to "tried and true" calorie-laden dinners; and all exercise has stopped. It's cold, I'm tired and I just want to be bundled up in comfy blankets, beside the fire, with my Bassets.

There are lots of things I need to attend to and I'm a little overwhelmed. I guess I will start with my dinners. As you know, breakfast, lunch, snacks is no problem for me. It's the dinner and the portion size that I struggle with. Now, I had a long stretch there where I was cooking up lo-cal, high fiber soups. But my husband soon asked for a little more variety, and I wanted it too. So as the temperature has dropped, I have fallen into cooking hearty stews, roasts, different chili and lasagna. Whoops. And I love these dishes, thank you very much, yet I now feel guilt when I eat them.

Not one to give up, however, I woke up today and committed to myself that I am going to rope things in and get us back on track. I know what the hearty dishes taste like -- I've been making them for years. I have to continue my search for new things that will keep our tummies warm, challenge me to create, and not be laden with calories and fat. I feel like I keep "re-committing" over and over again. Is this what people on diets always do? Darn, it's frustrating.

As for my clinic visits, I have not been in a long time, and our car troubles are really throwing a wrench in the whole thing. I go to the clinic south of my house on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. and class is at 5:00. But my husband needs to be picked up at 5:30 p.m. downtown -- different part of the city. And then there is of course my concern that I am above goal and I might go to the clinic and leave feeling like a failure. And I don't want to go through that. Would anyone? But in my heart I know going to the clinic keeps me accountable. Oh sigh and sigh some more.

I'm not even going to make any excuses for not exercising. There are none.

So, I don't want to sound like a "negative Nellie" but I guess I feel this way right now. I don't think I've been through a more challenging time? Well, scratch that. I've been through quite a few challenging times in the past year. I just didn't realize what a strong impact cold winter weather can have on my eating choices. Are you dealing with cold weather too? I don't like it! Pass the cinnamon tea. It's time to get my appetite under control!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Holiday Weight Coming Off!

Hip, Hip Hooray!
Excellent news to report. I weighed myself yesterday and I have dropped SEVEN lbs. from the week before. Which tells me some of that holiday weight gain was water weight. As soon as I got back on track and tightened everything back up, the loss started. Hooray!

Now, I do NOT anticipate losing an additional 7 lbs. in this next week. Ain't gonna happen. But here's where I stand today:

Current Weight: 178 lbs.
Target Weight: 170 lbs.
Original Optifast goal weight I achieved: 160 lbs.

I've thought about things long and hard and I just don't think it's going to be possible for me to get back to 160 lbs. Frankly -- to be honest -- I don't want to go to 160 lbs. because that would require just too much food restriction for me (or Optifasting again) and I don't want to do that. I like my daily eating routine I have set up, which allows for some extra calories at dinner. The binges are gone, I can cook and eat interesting dinners, my anxiety is in check.

Also, given the current dosage of medication I am on, I think it's impossible to get back to my original Optifast goal weight. And you know what? That's okay with me today. I've still kept a significant amount of weight off (60 lbs.!) and I'm very happy about that.

I also like my weekly weigh in on my home scale Friday mornings. I feel so much better checking my weight only once a week. Why didn't I start this sooner? I guess we just chalk it up to a lesson learned. Believe me, if the daily fluctuations in your weight are driving you nuts (like they did for me), ease back to once-a-week weighing. It is so much better.

Not much else to report this evening. Relaxing with my husband over the weekend. The weather should be warm enough tomorrow for my walking. All in all, I feel optimistic and good. Fingers crossed I stay this way!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

At Issue: My Dinners

My inspiration: Julia Child
Mornin' all! I have not stepped on the scale yet (I'm now doing weekly weigh-ins at home on Fridays), but I sense some of this holiday weight may be starting to come off. My clothes feel just a tad bit looser. I also kicked into high gear with my fiber-based diet and that has cut grazing in its tracks.

The way I see it now, I have absolutely no problem keeping my breakfast, lunch and snacks low calorie. You know I eat similar things every day and I like it. At issue is the dinners -- which to shed weight through calorie reduction, I must keep at around 300-400 calories. This is proving very difficult for me. On some days I am taking in 500-600 calories (estimate) for dinner. If this continues, the 15 lb. weight loss effort will be painfully slow for me. I need to be at around 1,200 calories/day to lose weight.

Now, you all know how much I love to cook. It is very, very important to me. I have a ritual where I go to the grocery every day; select my ingredients; spend time on prep; the dish cooks for awhile; then we enjoy the finished product. This is an entire process that gives me great pleasure and satisfies the creative streak in me. I tried just cooking for my husband while I ate 4 oz. of chicken or fish and a small salad, but folks I reached a point where I could not sustain that anymore.

When I join my husband in eating my creations I am happy as a clam.

I have turned to Eating Well magazine and other publications to get recipes and ideas for things I can prepare that are interesting and sometimes complex (I love a challenge). And I've been testing those out and some are very, very good. I must be careful to measure out my serving size, and I admit this has been a struggle. The dish looks and smells so good that I want to have a hearty portion. Sometimes I've been good, but other times I've given in to my cravings.

Then we have our once a week dinner out (we're committed now to just going out once a week), and as always I view that as a "reward" for watching my calories. Granted, we don't go to fast food restaurants or restaurant "chains." But the places we go to do have highly caloric dishes. And those I want the most!

However, I am not going to just give up and go back to cooking high-calorie dinners and eating with abandon. Been there, done that. I will keep searching for new ideas, do a little experimenting myself, and really target my portion size. I think that will be key for me.